In my 20’s, I never had any doubt about my physical ability. So a simple workout consisting of weight-lifting and some form of cardio (usually a run) was all I needed to keep fit. As much as I love to get exercise, back then it was almost an afterthought. I could roll into the gym on 5 hours sleep and power through a workout and then go for a 3 mile run and not even think about it.
As I approach 40, I think very differently about my overall health.
I’m mortal. I get aches and pains. There is less “bouncing back” and more thud. I routinely get more aches and pains than I did a decade ago. And even though that should be obvious to anyone–including me–the only thing it reminds me of is the need to keep moving. And now that I’m so keenly aware of my own mortality, I feel this ache in my heart to keep myself healthy all the way to the end, whenever that may be.
There’s a great bumper sticker quote: “Live hard. Die young. And have a good-looking corpse.” Fuck that. Live well, die old, and be able to stand on your own two feet, right to your very last day.
And so now I workout truly without taking it for granted. This is my religion. This is my wellness. I do this to prove to myself that I’m living well and not just living.
And here I am. At a fresh 37, gracefully trying to maintain a gift I was given at a very young age. The gift of good health.